Exogenous carbohydrases added to a starter diet reduced markers of systemic immune activation and decreased Lactobacillus in weaned pigs

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Schmitz-Esser, Stephan
Gabler, Nicholas
Gould, Stacie
Patience, John
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Animal Science

Although the impact of carbohydrases on performance and nutrient utilization has been well studied, their effects on immune status and intestinal microbiota are less known in pigs. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of xylanase (X) and a carbohydrase enzyme blend (EB; cellulase, ß-glucanase, and xylanase) on the immune profile of the intestine and peripheral system as well as intestinal microbes and microbial metabolites of weaned pigs fed higher fiber diets. Pigs (n = 460; 6.43 ± 0.06 kg BW; F25 × 6.0 Genetiporc) were blocked by initial BW. Pens (n = 48; 12 per treatment; 9 or 10 pigs per pen) were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 dietary treatments, including a higher fiber control diet (CON) and the CON supplemented with 0.01% X, 0.01% EB, or both enzymes (X + EB), arranged in a 2 × 2 factorial. The diets were based on corn, soybean meal, corn distillers dried grains with solubles, and wheat middlings. After 7-d adaptation to the environment, pigs were fed experimental diets ad libitum for 28 d. Blood samples were collected from the same pig within each pen on days 0, 7, 14, and 28. Intestinal tissues and digesta were collected on day 28. Bacteria 16S rRNA gene copy numbers were quantified using qPCR. The mRNA levels of colonic IL-17, occludin (OCLN), and claudin 3 (CLDN3) were greater in pigs fed diets with X + EB, but not X or EB, compared with those fed CON (P < 0.05). The EB in the diet reduced plasma IL-8 over the 28-d trial compared with diets without EB (P < 0.05). There was an X × EB interaction on plasma tumor necrosis factor α and IL-1ß (P < 0.05); their levels were decreased when X and EB were added together, but not individually, compared with CON. The EB decreased cecal propionate, butyrate, and total volatile fatty acids (P < 0.05). Pigs fed X had lower ileal Lactobacillus and greater ileal and cecal Enterobacteriaceae compared with those fed unsupplemented diets (P < 0.05). The EB decreased Lactobacillus (P < 0.05) and tended to decrease (P = 0.065) Enterobacteriaceae in the colon compared with diets without EB. In conclusion, the addition of X and EB together decreased systemic markers of immune activation, potentially diverting energy and nutrients towards growth. The EB reduced colonic Lactobacillus and cecal total volatile fatty acids, probably due to improved prececal fiber and starch degradation and thus reduced substrate availability in the large intestine. These data corroborated previously observed enhanced growth in pigs fed EB-supplemented diets.


This article is published as Li, Qingyun, Stephan Schmitz-Esser, Crystal L. Loving, Nicholas K. Gabler, Stacie A. Gould, and John F. Patience. "Exogenous carbohydrases added to a starter diet reduced markers of systemic immune activation and decreased Lactobacillus in weaned pigs." Journal of animal science 97, no. 3 (2018): 1242-1253. doi: 10.1093/jas/sky481.